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11 Best Anime Movies On HBO Max [October 2021]

We all love anime series like "Sailor Moon" and "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood," but there's nothing quite like an anime movie. Their standalone nature makes them accessible to anyone not looking to commit to a long-running show, and the creative talent the form attracts is utterly top-tier. The world has taken notice too. Though you might not be able to start a conversation about "Demon Slayer" with a stranger on the train, they're likely to have heard of "Spirited Away."

Luckily for fans everywhere, it's never been easier to enjoy anime movies of all stripes. HBO Max offers a truly spectacular number of choices, and we're not just talking about the fact that they have the entire Studio Ghibli catalog. From recent favorites to quintessential classics, these are the best anime movies available on HBO Max.

Updated on September 23, 2021: As HBO Max changes its selection of anime movies, we'll keep this list updated to reflect what the streaming service offers. Be sure to check back each month for the best anime movies currently available on HBO Max.

Promare

Galo Thymos is a hot-headed firefighter. Lio Fotia is a pyrokinetic revolutionary. Though they begin as enemies, their discovery that those in power are not all they seem brings them together. What results is a conflagration of out-there sci-fi world-building, rip-roaring action sequences, and some of the wildest animation of the decade. You want giant robots? You want a bare-chested hero prone to speeches about his burning soul? You want colors so saturated that the entire movie resembles a candy store? You'll get all that and more in this rollicking delight.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Kenichi Matsuyama, Taichi Saotome, Masato Sakai
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Billy Kametz, Johnny Yong Bosch, Crispin Freeman
  • Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Ride Your Wave

When her boyfriend Minato drowns while surfing, Hinako is devastated. Soon enough, however, she discovers she can summon his spirit in water by singing their favorite song. Their postmortem reunion is sweet, but it cannot last forever — Hinako must learn to let Minato go. This wistful love story tempers its melancholic edge with comical charm. Hinako and Minato's romance is tragic but often also hilarious. "Ride Your Wave" is an utterly human tale of devotion, loss, and fortitude.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Ryota Katayose, Rina Kawaei, Honoka Matsumoto
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Joey Richter, Merit Leighton, Sarah Anne Williams
  • Director: Masaaki Yuasa
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Weathering with You

Teen runaway Hodaka finds little in Tokyo beyond destitution and rainy weather — until he meets Hina, a girl who can summon sunshine through prayer. Love blossoms between them as they start a business based on Hina's powers, but this reprieve from drear cannot last forever. Romance and disaster collide in this film. Even as Hina and Hodaka find solace in each other, they're dwarfed by devastating environmental forces. In blending the relatively small tale of two people in love with the fate of the planet itself, "Weathering with You" finds tremendous meaning.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Shun Oguri
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Brandon Engman, Lee Pace, Alison Brie
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 112 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Night is Short, Walk on Girl

In "Night is Short, Walk on Girl," our nameless heroine is committed to a life lived in forward motion. Over the course of one of the wildest nights ever captured on film, this attitude leads to encounters with minor deities, legendary con men, guerilla theater troupes, and a whole lot of alcohol. The line between mundanity and magic becomes so blurred that it disappears entirely in this kaleidoscopic movie. By the time it ends, you'll be convinced there's no better way to portray youthful exuberance. The night might be short, but when you walk beside this film's particular girl, its possibilities are boundless.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Gen Hoshino, Kana Hanazawa, Hiroshi Kamiya
  • Starring: (English Dub Cast): Kellen Goff, Jackie Lastra, Eddy Lee
  • Director: Masaaki Yuasa
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Batman Ninja

In this gleeful take on one of the world's most popular characters, Batman is flung, along with his allies and enemies, into Japan's feudal past. Is it enormously fun to see the Joker, Catwoman, and, of course, the Dark Knight himself wielding katanas and commanding castles that transform into giant robots? Yes. But this alternate universe tale also boasts outstanding animation and some truly fresh reimaginings of much-interpreted characters. It's all right there in the title, really. It's Batman, he's a ninja, and it's exactly as awesome as you might expect.

  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Roger Craig Smith, Tony Hale, Grey Griffin
  • Director: Junpei Mizusaki
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Spirited Away

When 10-year-old Chihiro's parents are transformed into pigs, she's forced into the employ of Yubaba, proprietor of a bathhouse frequented by spirits. Though the spirit world is filled with wonder and beauty, danger lurks in its shadows. Chihiro must gather every ounce of confidence and cleverness she has if she's going to return herself and her parents to the human world. This is a movie as visually sumptuous as it is emotionally resonant. Chihiro's journey is one you'll want to revisit for years to come.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Jason Marsden
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Princess Mononoke

As a cursed wound creeps across his body, Emishi prince Ashitaka encounters San, a young woman raised by wolves. Alongside the divine beasts of the forest, she wages war against Iron Town, a human settlement led by the formidable Lady Eboshi. But as Ashitaka and San soon discover, the line between ally and invader is dramatically blurred. This isn't just a dazzlingly animated fantasy — it's an unforgettable exploration of war, industry, and rebirth.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Yōji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yūko Tanaka
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1997
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The Wind Rises

This fictionalized biography explores the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an aeronautical engineer as driven to design airplanes as he is uncomfortable with the wars they're used in. As the 1930s trudge onwards, the tensions that will explode into World War II shape Jiro's world, but so does his love for Naoko, a kind-hearted woman suffering from tuberculosis. In focusing on real-world history, Miyazaki explores war and beauty with dazzling insight, clarity, and power.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 2013
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Howl's Moving Castle

After the Witch of the Waste turns her into an old woman, Sophie seeks out Howl, the fearsome wizard who travels the land in a gargantuan moving castle. Life as his cleaning lady is complex enough, what with fire demons and unruly apprentices getting underfoot, but things get all the more complicated when war threatens to break out. Even among Studio Ghibli's impressive pantheon of characters, the delightfully motley denizens of Howl's castle stand out. It's impossible not to fall in love with this winsome fairy tale.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura, Akihiro Miwa
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

My Neighbor Totoro

When sisters Satsuki and Mei move to an old house in the country to be closer to the hospital where their mother is being treated, they find wonder like they've never seen before. Once they befriend Totoro, a friendly forest spirit, they're ushered into a world beyond their imagination ... but of course, reality can't be held off forever. Still, Totoro's world is a gentle one, where little girls find friends everywhere and no obstacle is insurmountable. Spending time within it is an exercise in awe.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 88 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

When a humble bamboo cutter stumbles upon a tiny girl within a luminous shoot, he knows she must be divine. As the years go by, he strives to treat her as such, crowding her life with servants, finery, and suitors. But her desires, like her origin, lie far beyond such material splendor. Animated in vivid washes of color and purposefully rough strokes of ink, this exquisite fable marks a high point in Studio Ghibli's already stupendous history.

  • Starring (Original Voice Cast): Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii
  • Starring (English Dub Cast): Chloë Grace Moretz, Darren Criss, James Caan
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Year: 2013
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%